The Rise of Singlehood in Japan: Dating, Rating, and Mating in an Age of Precarity
Mary Brinton, Harvard University
Over the past several decades Japan has gone from a society of nearly-universal marriage to a society where one-third of men and one-quarter of women remain unmarried in their late thirties. Unlike many European countries, marriage in Japan has not been replaced by cohabitation, and rates of single motherhood remain very low. The rise of singlehood has thus been a major contributor to low fertility. What forces have led to the sharp increase in singlehood? This paper uses data from a large marriage agency in Japan together with in-depth interviews of young Japanese to analyze mate preferences. Both sources of data provide evidence that men and women continue to consider male breadwinning a necessary qualification for marriage, despite some attention by young men on the ability of women to provide supplementary income.
Gendered Pathways to Singlehood in South Korea
Paul Chang, Harvard University
Addressing a significant manifestation of the “demographic crisis” in South Korea, past studies have identified important factors motivating the retreat from marriage. We build on this scholarship by further clarifying specific mechanisms that limit the transition to first marriage. We first explore qualitative data derived from 40 in-depth interviews to develop hypotheses reflecting the gendered pathways to singlehood. Inductive analysis of interview data highlights the burden of providing housing upon marriage for men and the anxieties related to maintaining a healthy work-life balance for women. We then test these hypotheses using longitudinal data from the Korean Labor and Income Panel Study (1998-2015). Survival analysis of the KLIPS dataset confirm important differences between men and women. Parental wealth, an important precondition for home purchases, is positively associated with men’s chances of marriage but not significant for women. On the other hand, attributes related to maintaining and sustaining careers – educational attainment, employment status, and human capital investment – significantly reduce the chances of marriage for women but increase the odds for men. In a cultural context where marriage and parenthood are tightly coupled, our findings have implications for related aspects of demographic change, including “lowest-low” fertility, “super-aging” societies, and the rise of never-married single-person households.
A Mixed Blessing of Living Together or Close by: Parent-child Relationship Quality and Subjective Well-being of Older Adults in China
Feinian Chen, University of Maryland
Intergenerational co-residence is generally deemed as a structural manifestation of traditional norms and family support in China. Rapid economic development and massive rural to urban migration has led to a decline in extended families. At the same time, non-coresident children often live close by and maintain a high level of contact. In this paper, using a newly available, nationally representative data, Chinese Longitudinal Aging Social Survey (CLASS), we examine the differentials in life satisfaction of older adults first by coresidence and then by close distance living arrangement. We use the instrumental variable (IV) approach and two-step estimation equations to adjust for potential bias that could be induced by the selectivity of coresidence. Finally we maintain that the impact of coresidence or close distance living arrangement on life is not uniform but depends on the quality of the relationship between parents and adult children.
Home Ownership and Fertility in Urban China
Hao Dong, Peking University
This study examines the association between homeownership and fertility in urban China. Chinese cities feature rising housing inequality and declining fertility in recent decades. The unprecedented housing privatization, together with persistent state-sponsored (danwei) housing schemes and new public housing schemes, has created various non-market and market pathways to Chinese urban homeownership. Our knowledge about whether and how such stratification in homeownership shapes differential fertility remains limited. Taking advantage of the ten-percent microdata sample of China’s 2015 Mini-census, this study finds systematic differences in the cumulative fertility and the probability of new birth in 2014-2015 between families of different homeownership types. Among others, one noteworthy finding is that market-home-renter families on average have even higher fertility than market-home-owner families, which is mainly driven by migrant families lacking local hukou. The main results hold after controlling for not only family demographic and socioeconomic characteristics but also home environmental characteristics, such as area, number of rooms, kitchen availability, toilet availability, and building floors and age. Additional analyses accounting for the duration living in the current home and city fixed-effects further help confirm the robustness of the findings. Overall, this study contributes to a better understanding of low fertility in the context of institutionalized hybrid homeownership regimes.
Diverging Destinies: Household Income, Parents’ Educational Attainment, Parents’ Time Availability and Adolescent’s Study Time in Japan
Ekaterina Hertog, Oxford University
Much research has focused on the link between parental characteristics and children’s educational attainment. More educated and richer parents have, on average, better-educated children. The policy implications of this link are huge. Higher educational attainment is associated with better employment prospects, higher future income as well as other later life outcomes such as physical and mental health. How do parents influence their children’s schooling? Existing literature has proposed several mechanisms. Parents may transmit some abilities genetically, they may influence children’s development by providing resources supporting children’s education, by acting as motivational role models, and by spending more time with children directly supporting their education. This paper is concerned with the ways the latter three mechanisms play out during adolescent years using Japanese time use data. Our results show that in Japan the availability of resources and parental education have a limited association with the study patterns of 10 to 14-year-olds. Mothers’ (but not fathers’) time availability, proxied by typical work hours, is associated with longer time spent studying among their 10 to 14 year old children. This changes when children reach the late teens. For older children this association between mothers’ work hours and study time disappears. Both mothers’ and fathers’ tertiary education are associated with an increase in time 15 to 19-year-old children spend studying and the size of the increase is larger when it comes to mother’s education. Household income has an additional positive effect on the time children spend studying. Overall this paper suggests that both availability of resources and having parents who model high educational attainment play an important role in encouraging adolescents to spend more time studying in contemporary Japan. As higher educational attainment spreads and the number of women attending universities catches up with that of men, this may lead to a narrowing of some educational inequalities among adolescents. At the same time, the large income differences between low and high income households suggests that growing income inequality in Japan will lead to greater inequality in educational attainment for future generations.
Socioeconomic Differentials in Fertility in South Korea
Sojung Lim, Utah State University
Deteriorating economic circumstances for young adults have been posited as one of the major factors contributing to fertility decline in South Korea. Using nationally representative longitudinal data, this paper aims to examine socioeconomic differentials in first and second childbirth among married women using various indicators of socioeconomic status. Results from discrete-time hazard models show that higher education is positively associated with both the first and second birth. Educational differences in fertility are more salient for the second birth in that the gap between those with tertiary education and lower educated women is much larger than for the first birth. With regard to employment status, employed women tend to delay childbearing, regardless of parity. Women in nonstandard employment are much less likely than those in standard employment to make a transition to motherhood, especially first childbirth. These results suggest complex relationships between socioeconomic resources and fertility in Korea. For example, women in standard employment may postpone childbirth for career advancement while those in unstable employment conditions with nonstandard employment may postpone childbearing because of economic constraints. Findings of this study will shed light on the socioeconomic determinants of fertility in Korea and further provide important policy implications.
Diverging Gaps in Parental Time for Children in Korea
Hyunjoon Park, University of Pennsylvania
The extensive involvement of Korean parents, particularly mothers, in children’s education is well documented, suggesting relatively limited differentials in parental time use for children between parents of different levels of education. However, increased competition for children’s educational success and changing parenting norms, particularly for fathers, may suggest growing educational differentials in parental time in Korea. Pooling repeated cross-sectional data across four Korean Time Use Surveys (KTUS) conducted in 1999, 2004, 2009, and 2014, I assess how parental time use for child caring among mothers and fathers with children under age 6 has changed over time. I focus on how parents of different levels of education differ in total time spent on child caring and changes over tine therein. OLS regression analysis predicting total minutes spent on child caring in a day shows that both mothers and fathers in Korea have spent increasingly more time for their children over time, regardless of educational levels. However, the rise of time use has been more substantial among mothers and fathers who a bachelor’s degree or higher than their counterparts with high school or less education. I discuss implications of diverging gaps in parental time spent on child care in connection with growing differentials in other family behaviors in Korea.
Rethinking the ‘Retreat from Marriage’ in Japan
James Raymo, Princeton University
Demographers have paid relatively little attention to marriage intentions and the gap between intentions and outcomes despite the important insights they can provide into the nature and magnitude of a “retreat from marriage.” Using multiple sources of data, we consider four different types of retreat from marriage in Japan: rejection of marriage, drifting away from marriage while pursuing other goals, failure to realize the desire to marry, and limited interest/low prioritization of marriage. Results shed light on the nature of the so-called “marriage paradox” – the rising proportions who never marry despite limited evidence of declining intentions to marry. Preliminary results show that the proportion of men and women rejecting marriage is very low, but the proportion that expresses unclear or passive intentions is large. They also show that marriage intentions are reasonably stable over time and that clear intentions to (not) marry are strongly associated with the likelihood of (not) marrying. Slightly more than 10% of the sample moves from positive to passive (or negative) marriage intentions, a pattern that we view as consistent with “drifting” into singlehood. However, the most prevalent trajectory is of consistently unclear or passive intentions, a pattern that is associated with a relatively low likelihood of marriage, especially for men. Overall, these results indicate that our understanding of marriage intentions depends upon how they are measured and that the “retreat from marriage” in Japan does not reflect a rejection of marriage. Rather, it reflects young Japanese men’s and women’s low prioritization of marriage and their relatively passive approach to seeking a marriage partner.
Outsourcing Domestic Work and Female’s Labor Force Participation: A Comparison between Shanghai and Hong Kong
Xiaogang Wu, Hong Kong University of Science & Technology
Although women’s reproductive role (e.g., marriage and childbirth) is universal, its hindering effects on their productive work in labor markets could vary across societies with different institutional arrangements and social welfare systems. Mainland China and Hong Kong represent two different welfare regimes to address the work-life conflict, especially for married women. Based on the comparable data from Hong Kong Panel Study of Social Dynamics (HKPSSD, 2011, N=3214) and Shanghai Urban Neighborhood Survey (SUNS 2017, N=5201), this article investigates the impact of outsourcing domestic work on female’s labor force participation. In Hong Kong, 9.93% of household hire live-in foreign domestic helpers, whereas in Shanghai, 7.41% of households also hire workers to do household chores. Results show that, outsourcing is negatively associated with the likelihood of women’s labor force participation, and no impact on their work time and housework time in Shanghai. In contrast, in HK, hiring domestic helpers promotes women’s labor force participation, and reduce their housework time, increase their time spent on work. It seems that the live-in domestic helpers are employed as substitute in child caring and rearing for HK women in the labor force, but not in Shanghai.
Job Characteristics, Marital Intentions, and Partner-Seeking Actions: Longitudinal Evidence from Japan
Wei-hsin Yu, University of Maryland
Most research linking jobs to marriage formation focuses on how job contexts and prospects are associated with singles’ paces of entering marriage. Direct evidence on whether and how job characteristics affect singles’ desire for marriage and actions toward forming a union, however, remains rare. Using longitudinal data from Japan, we examine how changes in a range of job characteristics correspond to alterations in singles’ intention to marry, actions taken to meet a romantic partner, and likelihood of pairing with a partner. Results from fixed-effects models, which account for most of the unobserved heterogeneity among individuals with different jobs, indicate that rises in job insecurity and workplace staffing shortage weaken, whereas growth in job autonomy strengthens, men’s intention to marry. Job attributes such as earnings, deadline pressure, and working hours are also associated with how men with differing levels of marriage desire are likely to take actions to seek partners. Moreover, men who experience an increase in their jobs’ skill-accumulation potential are more likely to find a partner soon, regardless of their marital intentions. Job prospects and quality are generally less important to women’s marital intentions and partner-seeking behavior and outcomes. Nevertheless, rises in the job’s teamwork requirement, which may enhance social pressure on single women in the workplace, both raise women’s intention to marry and their likelihood to use any formal method, such as asking parents to introduce or employing a marriage agency, to find a romantic partner.